Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Greg Dulli Live At the Triple Door

Last.fm has the entire Greg Dulli live album "Live at the Triple Door." The tracks are from two benefit acoustic shows in Seattle. Dulli performs with Petra Haden, Jeff Klein, Barb Antonio and Shawn Smith. Dulli made his career playing in the famously loud Afghan Whigs. No one would ever mistake Dulli for a folk singer.

Haden and Smith are naturally gifted singers. The Triple Door shows forced Dulli to be a more disciplined and rid his voice of his punk rock tendencies. The results are the best vocal performances of Dulli's career. Dulli still strains to hit the high notes in The Killer. The difference is Dulli isn't screaming the chorus with Springsteen-level bombast.

As with any Dulli live show, the covers are the highlights. Dulli reinvents José González's Down the Line. Dulli's version builds on the tension of percussive guitar strumming, pianos and violins to capture the lyrics message of "don't let the darkness eat you up." Nina Simone's Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair is the closest Dulli will ever come to being a jazz man. The arrangement and playing are ace. The bonus is Dulli are hits the high notes. The Faces R&B tinged Tell Everyone becomes a country song.

The quiet call and response vocals between Dulli, Haden and Klein on Candy Cane Crawl and Bonnie Brae are a treat. A Led Zeppelin reference is thrown in at the end of King Only.

Summer's Kiss explains how the shows happened.

“I was originally asked to perform alone but that prospect was terrifying to me, so I asked Petra to come along,” commented Dulli. “Then I thought ‘Jeff’s done this a million times, I’ll bring him too.’ I hadn’t played with Shawn or Barb in ten years and they lived in Seattle, so I called them and what started as a potentially scary situation turned into a beautiful band without all the clanging and banging. And I could actually hear myself onstage for once and sang (mostly) in key.”

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